American Airlines on Thursday confirmed that it would suspend its service to 15 U.S. airports in October after CARES Act Requirements end, as travel demand continues to come back slower than expected.
Over 700 American flights from 15 airports will stop on Oct. 7. Those airports include Del Rio, Texas; Dubuque, Iowa; Florence, South Carolina; Greenville, North Carolina; Huntington, West Virginia; Joplin, Missouri; Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan; Lake Charles, Louisiana; New Haven, Connecticut; New Windsor, New York; Roswell, New Mexico; Sioux City, Iowa; Springfield, Illinois; and Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
In a statement announcing the news, American called the cuts “the first step” in evaluating “its network and plans for additional schedule changes in the coming weeks.
American, and other airlines, were beneficiaries of the CARES Act, which granted the industry $25 billion in payroll assistance as long as they maintained minimum flight requirements through the end of September. However, American has warned that once that funding runs out, it will be forced to continue to cut service.
Both ASTA and U.S. Travel Association have issued statements calling for Congress’ return to pass another round of assistance for the travel industry.
“It is crucial that leaders in Washington return to the negotiating table immediately and continue the important work they started,” U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson said in a statement released on Wednesday.
According to U.S. Travel, since March, more than half of the 15.8 million pre-pandemic jobs supported by the travel industry have disappeared, and while many think that may only impact the people in tourism and travel, “there can be no nationwide economic revival without a recovery of the travel industry.”
“Underscoring the devastating effect this crisis has had on the industry’s jobs base is the fact that 34% of all job losses have been in the Leisure and Hospitality sector, though that sector accounted for just 11% of pre-pandemic jobs,” Emerson added. “Despite the robust relief measures enacted over the past several months, huge numbers of travel businesses are still unable to access any of the assistance programs.”
U.S. Travel is calling for an immediate extension and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program to include DMOs and for any new legislation to be passed, most hopefully, prior to Sept. and, if not, prior to the election.